As you know a key part of our vision as Christ Church is that we want to be a people who love our city. There are over 1.6 million image bearers of God in Philadelphia and because we value God, we want to be committed to contributing to the thriving of those who are in His likeness. The primary way this happens is through you loving and serving the people that God puts in your path. However, as we get more established here as a church community, I believe that there are going to be strategic opportunities that God will to give us to influence our neighborhood in a broader way for its good. This is something we have been praying for and this is a prayer that I see being answered through a burgeoning relationship with Furness High School.
Furness is 1 block away from our church. There are over 700 students there and they come from 50 different nationalities. When we first moved into our building, I tried to set up a meeting with the principal to see how we could serve and protect the school, but never heard back. I didn’t want to force anything and so I have just been praying for that school and waiting for God to open a door. Through a series of events, that can only be explained as the hand of God, the principal reached out to me a few months ago to discuss doing a bible study at his school. Keep in mind that he is not a Christian and this is a public school. While it is the constitutional right of every student to receive religious instruction, few schools make their students aware of this right. However, Principal Peou has respect for our church and said that he wants some of what is happening here to rub off on his kids. We have now met several times and what started out as just a discussion about a bible study is blossoming into a friendship between the two of us and several other significant opportunities to serve that school.
Like most city schools, Furness is understaffed and underfunded. Principal Peou is doing the best he can with what he has been given, but there is only so much that he can do. There are two major ways that he would love to see us get involved with the school. One, they need tutors. Whether it is on a monthly or weekly basis, the heroic efforts of the staff would be greater served if we could work with kids on a regular basis. Second, he would love for me to create an internship program for his seniors on entrepreneurial leadership.
I can’t think of anything more strategic to advance the mission of God than investing in the next generation. I am blown away at the multiple contact points that we have the opportunity to make with these high school kids. Think about it, this coming Fall they will be at our building every week in a bible study, hopefully we will be at their building every week tutoring and I will be spending time interacting with seniors every week. I have told Caleb and Jessie McCurley (our youth directors) to get ready as I believe God has big plans for growing the number of youth in Christ Church.
Please continue to pray as plans for all of this are being put together. Also, please consider how you can be involved. This stuff won’t be getting kicked off until October, but start praying and thinking now. I will definitely keep you updated as plans unfold.
God is awesome!